Does One Part Alcohol + One Part Breast Milk = Bad For Baby?

Women have been warned not to consume alcohol during pregnancy.  There is sufficient research that confirms drinking alcohol, while pregnant, poses several, avoidable risk to an unborn baby.  However, the risks of consuming alcohol while breastfeeding are not as well defined.  

Breastfeeding mothers often receive conflicting advice about whether their alcohol consumption can have an adverse effect on their baby.  This leaves mothers with more questions than answers. A good resource to start looking for answers is the La Leche League.  Their article, The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding says: The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother ingests.  When the breastfeeding mother drinks occasionally, or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful.

The League further published:

Alcohol passes freely into mother’s milk and has been found to peak about 30 to 60 minutes after consumption, 60 to 90 minutes when taken with food.  Alcohol also freely passes out of a mother’s milk and here system.  It takes a 120 pound woman about two to three hours to eliminate from her body the alcohol in one serving of beer or wine.  The more alcohol that is consumed, the longer it takes for it to be eliminated.  It takes up to 13 hours for a 120 pound woman to eliminate alcohol from one high-alcoholic drink.

Opposing research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that breast-fed babies, whose mothers drank, as few as, one drink a day may present with impaired motor or development and that alcohol can cause changes in sleep patterns.

Also, to dispel any notion that encourages drinking alcohol to improve milk production. Facts show that the presence of alcohol in breast milk can cause the babies to drink about 20 % less

If you have consumed more than the legal amount of alcohol to drive a vehicle, you have consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol to safely breastfeed. Moms should be mindful that the level of alcohol in her blood, matches the level of alcohol in her breast milk.”

Research has shown that breast-feeding is an optimal way to feed your newborn and is recommended until a baby is at least age one.  If you have questions on what method to use to when deciding how you will feed your baby.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.